By Irene Luck – June 2022
Lake Anna is marking a milestone this year with its 50th anniversary and part of the year-long celebration is the annual LACA fireworks show which is scheduled for Saturday, July 2.
This year’s event promises to be the best one yet and also marks the 25th time LACA has coordinated the shoot.
In September 1997 a group of volunteers arranged for the first official fireworks show on Lake Anna to mark the 25th anniversary of the lake’s formation. The first shoot was held at Lake Anna State Park with funds raised from the community. Following a successful shoot that was enjoyed by thousands of spectators, mostly from the lake, LACA was approached about continuing the tradition as a celebration of America’s independence. Excess funds were transferred to LACA and a fundraising effort began for the 1998 event.
The late Richard Cooley, a resident of Lake Anna, was a pyrotechnic specialist with Zambelli International. He had assisted with the September shoot and offered his services at no charge to LACA provided the display was not held on July 4th, an extremely busy day for him and his counterparts.
For several years afterwards, until health issues forced him to step aside, Cooley helped design and arrange the fireworks show working with volunteers to set up and ignite the pyrotechnics. Initially the fireworks were shot from the dam at the far eastern end of the lake providing a spectacular view for many who watched on land as well as on boats. However, after the attacks of September 2001 Dominion would no longer permit the shoot from the dam due to safety concerns and it was moved to its current location at Dike 2, an earthen dam with no public access just uplake from the original site.
But, the shoot isn’t just a LACA event. It requires assistance from Louisa County’s sheriff’s office and its emergency services agencies. Volunteer firefighters and medical personnel are on standby during the shoot in case of an emergency. Louisa and Spotsylvania sheriffs’ offices have marine units to help patrol the safety zone area around the dike along with Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Lake Anna Flotilla 87.
Due in part to the longtime association with Zambelli through Cooley and others who enjoyed working at Lake Anna, the association has been fortunate to have a top-notch show at a discounted cost. Many have said that the show at Lake Anna equals those at larger venues such as the nation’s Capital and larger cities.
This year, the fundraising goal is $35,000 and letters soliciting donations will be in the mail soon. You can also donate at LACA’s website by following the link here. All donations will be listed on our website which can be viewed here.